Linkin Park: Chester Bennington, Dave Farrell , Rob Bourdon, Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, Joe Hahn. After a multi-platinum debut, Grammy nominations, a successful sophomore album, sold-out tours, and a collaboration with Jay-Z, the pressure was on for Linkin Park to deliver the goods with their 2007 release, MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. Interestingly, the alternative metal outfit, best known for mixing rap, rock, and electronic touches, deviates from their aggressive, angst-filled sound on their third outing--opting instead to dabble in moody, atmospheric rock. Opener "Wake" establishes the ethereal, synth-driven feel that characterizes much of the disc. Crunching electric guitars are few and far between, and most of the swirling, electronica-textured tracks weigh in at mid-to-downtempo. There are still moments of rock intensity, such as "Bleed It Out" (featuring one of rapper Mike Shinoda's few appearances), but the overall mood seems better suited to pensive bedsitting than a festival mosh pit. Co-producer Rick Rubin makes the dreamy soundscapes gleam, but longtime fans may miss the fist-pumping energy of early Linkin Park. Still, the new sonic palette of MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT shows a band willing to push past their own tried-and-true formulas.